This week in history: Chicago’s mediocre prank phone calls

A Chicago Daily News article from April 1, 1947 revealed some of the best — sort of — prank phone calls Chicagoans could come up with.

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Black rotary phone

Chicagoans could’ve used a little more imagination in their prank phone calls.

As reported by the Chicago Daily News, sister paper of the Chicago Sun-Times:

Few Chicagoans felt like joking around this April Fools’ Day as the coronavirus pandemic marched on, but maybe this just gives us time to come up with better material for next year.

Chicagoans in 1947 could have used an extra year to better prepare their prank phone call material; a Chicago Daily News article published on April Fools’ Day that year revealed just how bad and unoriginal our predecessors’ jokes were.

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A city pound employee told a Daily News reporter that the thousands of people called on April 1 — “and there wasn’t an original idea in the lot.”

”People still ask for Mr. Barker and Mr. Wolf. Nuts,” the employee said, describing the whole ordeal as “a pain in the neck.”

Brookfield Zoo operators shut down one prankster who called asking for Mr. Bushman. The operator told him he had the wrong number — Bushman, a gorilla, actually lived at Lincoln Park Zoo.

At Lincoln Park Zoo, operators fared no better.

“They still ask for Mr. Lyon and Mr. Baer,” one exasperated worker told the paper. “My gosh.”

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